KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 2 —Weaknesses in the work process related to Covid-19 quarantine release orders have been improved, Dr Adham Baba said.
The health minister in his written Dewan Rakyat reply on November 30 was replying to Raub MP, Tengku Zulpuri Raja Puji, who asked the health minister if there has been a technical mistake in the labs while detecting Covid-19 and if the government has plans on improving it.
Zulpuri was referring to an incident involving a Melaka state assemblyman, who was misinformed that he was free from Covid-19 and subsequently released from home surveillance.
According to Dr Adham, the Melaka assemblyman had returned from Sabah on September 27 and had undergone a Covid-19 screening at the international gates of the airport. Following that, he complied with the quarantine order that was given to him.
However, he was first informed that he tested negative, and had cut his quarantine band and went to the state secretariat building to attend to some matters, but that same evening, he was informed that he actually tested positive with Covid-19.
“Control and prevention measures were taken immediately as soon as he was confirmed positive, including close contact detection and disinfection and he was immediately referred to receive treatment at Melaka Hospital,” Dr Adham said, without elaborating further on the Ministry of Health’s (MOH) overall workflow on quarantine and release orders.
Following that incident, the Melaka state government said that it will take action against MOH officers if an investigation finds that they had misinformed the state assemblyman on his Covid-19 test results.
In another incident, Plantation, Industries, and Commodities Minister Khairuddin Aman Razali, who tested negative for Covid-19 upon returning from Turkey, was not issued a home surveillance order at the airport. Although he tested negative for Covid-19 during his first swab test, he did not self-quarantine for 14 days despite returning from a foreign country.
MOH Spent RM1.17 Billion For Covid-19
According to Dr Adham, the Ministry of Finance (MOF) had given an allocation of RM1 billion to MOH to tackle Covid-19.
“As of October 31, 2020, MOH has spent a total of RM1.17 billion, including the current ministry’s allocation to purchase equipments, consumables, personal protective equipments (PPE), reagents, and test kits as well as other services in controlling the Covid-19 outbreak,” the health minister said.
He was responding to Zulpuri’s second question on the total allocation channeled by the federal government to state hospitals and clinics this year for Covid-19.
The health minister also said that a special allowance is given to all Covid-19 frontliners in MOH, which was initially RM400 a month in March but increased to RM600 a month from April onwards.
“As of October 31, MOH has spent a total of RM275 million for the purpose of special Covid-19 allowance.
“In addition, in the announcement of Budget 2021, the government has agreed to give a one-off grant to to appreciate the services of MOH frontliners, which is expected to benefit 100,000 health workers,” Dr Adham said.
However, Minister from the Prime Minister’s department in charge of special functions, Mohd Redzuan Md Yusof, told the Dewan Rakyat that hospital cleaners will not be receiving the RM500 one-off payment for frontliners.
Redzuan said that only doctors, nurses, and medical personnel who are directly dealing with Covid-19 high-risk groups and patients are eligible for the one-off payment, Malaysiakini reported.